Ilocos Sur bans leisure travel anew due to virus surge
LAOAG CITY—Amid the rising COVID-19 cases, Ilocos Sur has shut its doors anew on leisure travelers beginning Wednesday, Sept.22, further delaying the recovery of its tourism sector battered by the pandemic, officials said.
In an advisory, Michael Ryan Astom, Ilocos Sur tourism officer, said tourists would not be allowed to enter the province until Oct. 6 as most of its towns and cities had been placed under enhanced community quarantine for two weeks due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
He said tourists who have booked their tour arrangements were advised to reschedule, adding that travel requests made through the province’s online portal had been disabled for the next two weeks.
Astom said hotels and accommodations in the province would be allowed to operate at 50-percent capacity only to cater to authorized persons outside their residences.
In the next two weeks, the provincial government would try to boost its promotional activities to entice tourists to visit the province once quarantine curbs are lifted, said Astom.
The tourism surge in the past years had been an essential driver of the province’s economy, supporting at least 8,000 workers, local government data showed.
In neighboring Ilocos Norte, Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc issued an executive order that required tourists from areas under COVID-19 alert level 4 to present negative RT-PCR test results taken within 72 hours before their travel.
They may also present a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) taken within 24 hours before traveling to the province. A negative RAT result is also required for those from under general community quarantine (GCQ) or modified GCQ areas, and those under alert levels 1, 2, and 3.
Ilocos Norte reopened last week to residents its various tourism sites in towns and cities under GCQ.
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